I don’t know if you can recall playing cops and robbers in the school playground as a kid. I’m old, so it’s all getting a bit hazy for me. What I can remember is that there was always one kid who fetishized reloading. Other kids would be taking cover and pulling off imaginary headshots, but there was one kid who wanted to do the whole bit, as it were, crouched behind an elephant see-saw, risking desperate glances at his mortal enemies by the drinking fountain, ramming home another round of imaginary bullets. Sixteen in the clip, as Warren G once put it, and I’m pretty sure he was talking about guns.
This kid feels like a universal constant. I’m sure that there was a reloader in every playground around England, just as I’m sure that kids who grew up in the nineties, a decade in which nothing unfolded at the correct speed, had to incorporate slow-mo and gun-fu into their shootouts too. Now I think about it, we had a kid in our playground who even did the ad-breaks. No matter. Blood & Truth is here, and it’s one for the reloaders. Reloaders rejoice! Your time has come and you’re fresh out of bullets.
Let us descend by not just one but two leagues. Blood & Truth belongs to what could be termed the High Ritchieverse. London is Lahndan and everyone in it is in a right two-and-eight. But Blood & Truth also belongs to VR, which means that levels become sets and in-game assets become props. In the inevitable sequence in which you find yourself tied to a chair and taunted – as crucial a lynchpin of the High Ritchieverse as a dishy swordsman holding back the hordes is in high fantasy – the taunter leans right into you, eyes glinting with studied mockney malevolence, skin revealing pores and the veins running underneath.